Every year, BJP-online asks a selection of industry leaders to recommend the photobooks, exhibitions, and projects that stood out to them most. Throughout December and January, we will be sharing their nominations for the Best of 2019.
French-Japanese art director Cécile Poimboeuf-Koizumi and photographer Vasantha Yogananthan met in 2013 in Paris, and within a year they had set up their publishing house Chose Commune, and published Yogananthan’s first photobook, Piémanson.
Since then, the pair have worked with international artists including Julie Cockburn, Shōji Ueda, Raymond Meeks and Coco Capitán, creating a range of carefully curated “book-objects” with a focus on sequencing and design.
Below, the publishing duo pick out their favourite photobooks from 2019.
Summer Camp by Mark Steinmetz
Summer camps. The excitement, the games, the friendships, the late nights, and Mark Steinmetz: the magician. It’s not only the nostalgia that many of us have of summer camps that makes this such a strong body of work, but also the photographer’s brilliant eye for capturing people in the moment – and just as they are.
On Keeping A Notebook by Jamie Hawkesworth and Joan Didion
A refreshing book that makes you feel like picking up your camera and going out for the sheer pleasure of taking pictures. Even the mundane things that Jamie Hawkesworth sees during his travels are heightened by his unique and personal feel for colours and composition. The dialogue between Hawkesworth’s photographs and Joan Didion’s accompanying essay also make for a successful photo-text publication.
Anthologie Aires de jeux au Japon by Vincent Romagny
Vincent Romagny’s latest book, which follows on from last year’s The Playground Project, brings together writers and artists to offer a rich study of playgrounds in Japan. Encompassing fields of architecture, design, and gardening, it features an amazing archive of photographs from the 1950s to the present day, showing us the many forms and uses of playgrounds in Japan and how people inhabit them.
Radiator Theatre by Ina Jang
Ina Jang cut out colourful shapes and photographed them on the radiator, the first part of her New York apartment that the morning sun reaches. The book’s simple and straightforward design serves the project perfectly and being obsessed with colours and organic shapes, naturally, this book appealed to us. Enquiries to purchase the book can be made directly to Jang through her website.
A special edition of Süddeutsche Zeitung by Robert Frank and Gerhard Steidl
When Robert Frank passed away in September 2019 we all lost one of the greatest artists of all time. This newspaper was produced by Steidl as the “unconventional catalogue” of Frank’s 2016 exhibition Books and Films, 1947–2018, and although it should not technically end up on a Best of 2019 list, we can’t help but recommend it strongly. It features letters written by Frank, interviews, thoughts on editing and sequencing, and double-page spreads with photographs that you can tear apart and pin to your walls — just how Frank liked it.